Vieux Farka Toure and Idan Raichel met in transit in a German airport. Raichel knew of Farka Toure but although the Malian had never heard of the Israeli musician they struck an immediate musical recognition and this recording stems from that meeting and the subsequent show that they played in Tel Aviv.

This is one of the best albums I have heard this year, in any genre or form and it even ranks with the Vincent Segal/Ballake Sissoko ‘Chamber Music’ album of 2010– it really is that good! The collaboration between these two geniuses strikes deeply to the soul of the listener.

Viuex Farka Toure is a Malian, son of the legendary Ali Farka Toure and a world superstar in his own right.
Aiden Raichel is an Israeli keyboardist, classically trained and a huge pop superstar in Israel.
Toure is steeped in the Malian musical tradition but takes it onwards in new ways and completely individual in style.
Raichel heads up the Idan Raichel Project merging sounds from all over the Middle East and Eastern Europe into a multicultural amalgamation that is completely fresh and original.

After the concert in Tel Aviv in 2010 the pair retired to a small studio with Yossi Fine on bass and Souleyman Kane on calabash to jam the rest of the evening and this is the result, all acoustic and improvised with some later overdubs.
Anyone who is familiar with Toure’s style will recognise the precise finger-picking on the guitar but to hear it matched and challenged by Raichel’s keyboards is quite stunning but on a track such as ‘Hawa’ where Toure leads and you don’t realise that Raichel’s piano is even there until it suddenly moves to the fore and the mind suddenly flicks on “it was there all along!”. The subtlety of both of their playing is such that anytime you feel you have a handle on one person’s playing you begin to hear the underpinning of the other. As a meeting of two brilliant musicians this shows just what can be achieved by subsuming your ego and allowing the strength of the collective to work for you.

The joy in the music is palpable; as a listener I can only imagine the breadth of the smiles on the musicians faces but I can hear it. The power is there too, no explosions but all the power of musicians playing their hearts and minds. These guys are challenging each other and brining something out of the other that they never knew existed – and we, the listeners, get to peek in; that is joy!

If there is a better album released this year I will be shocked – this is one of the moments that will be around for years and bring smiles to every listener who discovers it – and rediscovers it next time they listen.